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With Election Day right around the corner, legacy media are out in full force covering the country’s most competitive races, with the Pennsylvania Senate race being one of the most notable. While the close contest between Republican Mehmet Oz and Democrat John Fetterman has dominated the news for weeks, the state’s gubernatorial election featuring Democrat Josh Shapiro and Republican Doug Mastriano has not received the same level of attention, with the likely reason being that left-wing “journalists” have all but declared the race as a victory for Shapiro.
According to their own polling, the corporate press has regularly shown Shapiro with double-digit leads over Mastriano. Even surveys conducted by more reliable firms such as The Trafalgar Group have Shapiro with a lead that falls outside the poll’s margin of error. And although most polling is intentionally skewed to manipulate the attitude of the electorate, any potential advantage Shapiro may currently enjoy should come as no surprise given Democrats’ massive spending efforts to push the Pennsylvania attorney general over the finish line.
As reported by PennLive, Shapiro has outspent Mastriano “by more than a 6-to-1 ratio” over the course of the race and has raised $14.3 million over approximately the last month, putting his total fundraising haul at $64 million, a state record. Among the major political action committees and political figures backing his campaign are the Democratic Governors Association and former New York City mayor and 2020 Democrat presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg.
Mastriano, who has essentially been abandoned by national GOP groups like the Republican Governors Association, has not been as lucky. Last month, the Pennsylvania Republican raised roughly $2 million in the same month-long period, leading to a total of nearly $6 million over the course of his campaign. Whereas Shapiro’s campaign has spent approximately $27.1 million on television and satellite ads since May, Mastriano’s hadn’t even exhausted $1 million as of Oct. 28.
Wolf in the Henhouse
While national Republicans may think Mastriano’s campaign is a lost cause, it would behoove them to know that the outcome of the Pennsylvania governor’s race has broader implications on the politics of the country, and specifically the 2024 presidential election.
Throughout his time in office, Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf has regularly used his position as head of Pennsylvania’s executive branch to undermine the integrity of the state’s election systems and sow chaos in highly contested races like the 2020 presidential contest.
In the lead-up to the 2020 election, Wolf’s office was instrumental in working with left-wing organizations to help lobby blue counties to apply for private grants from groups such as the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL). As The Federalist previously reported, CTCL was among several nonprofits that received hundreds of millions of dollars from Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg to change state and local election administration and conduct get-out-the-vote operations in Democrat-majority areas.
Since the 2020 election, Wolf has also taken steps to combat state Republicans’ efforts to increase election integrity. In June 2021, he vetoed legislation that would have required Pennsylvanians to present some form of voter ID when casting their ballot. Among the other changes to election law included in the bill were provisions that would have shortened “the timetable for people to register to vote and to submit applications to vote by mail.”
In addition to vetoing legislation, Pennsylvania law also provides the governor with other avenues to impact election administration, such as appointing the commonwealth’s secretary of state, whose responsibilities include overseeing the state’s electoral process. In the days preceding the 2020 election, former Democrat Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, a Wolf appointee, issued unlawful guidance that “reportedly allowed voters missing proof of identification to cure their mail-in ballots until Nov. 12,” despite lacking any statutory duty to do so.
As terrible as Boockvar was at her position, her successor Leigh Chapman has been just as bad (if not worse). Most recently, Chapman turned heads when she openly told reporters to not be surprised if the commonwealth doesn’t have final election results on election night this year. In her remarks, she prematurely pinned the blame on any potential delays in vote tabulations on a state law that says election officials can’t start processing mail-in ballots until Election Day and claimed that such a possibility doesn’t mean “anything nefarious is happening.”
But Chapman’s dreadful track record doesn’t stop there. Last month, she told counties in the state that they could count undated mail-in ballots — even after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling saying otherwise. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ultimately stepped in and reaffirmed the higher court’s order, ruling that the Pennsylvania county boards of elections must not count any ballots “contained in undated or incorrectly dated outer envelopes” for the Nov. 8 election.
2024 and Beyond
Given his position as Wolf’s attorney general and the years he’s spent advancing the Democrat governor’s leftist agenda, it’s pretty safe to assume that a Shapiro administration wouldn’t look all that different from Wolf’s when it comes to election administration. To date, Shapiro has indicated that if he becomes Pennsylvania’s next governor, he would, as Spotlight PA reported, “veto any bill that restricts mail voting, and push for automatic voter registration,” as well as support policies such as “same-day voter registration, pre-registration for people younger than 18, early in-person voting, and a ban on firearms at polling places.”
Alternatively, Mastriano, who has made election integrity a major focal point of his candidacy, has taken positions contrary to those of Shapiro. In a statement provided to The Federalist, a representative for the Pennsylvania Republican’s campaign said that should he become governor, Mastriano would “appoint a Secretary of State who will secure [Pennsylvania] elections” and “partner with the legislature to eliminate ‘no-excuse’ mail-in voting, get rid of drop boxes, and pass universal voter ID.”
“Our Republic should have the most secure elections in the world,” the campaign official said. “Notably, the Democrats are attacking these commonsense proposals because they don’t want to focus on the real issues facing Pennsylvanians.”
Whether national Republicans want to admit it or not, a Shapiro victory in Pennsylvania wouldn’t just be a temporary electoral setback, but a disaster for all future statewide elections. With Shapiro in the driver’s seat, the odds increase exponentially that the very policies and malfeasance that plagued the state in 2020 would continue, which would leave voters with an election system that sows confusion and distrust among the electorate.
At the end of the day, it’s not just Shapiro and Mastriano on the ballot this November; it’s the security of the 2024 election and every one thereafter.
Reporting by The Federalist.